Grab to appeal P10-M LTFRB fine

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GRAB Philippines (MyTaxi.PH) said it will appeal the P10-million fine imposed by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) for alleged overcharging.

In a statement on Thursday, the ride-hailing company denied overcharging customers, saying its mobile app reflected “fixed and upfront fares before bookings are confirmed.”

“We appeal to the Board to focus on resolving the supply gap immediately, as we in turn work hard to continuously improve our overall service,” the company said.

Grab said the suspension of the P2 per minute waiting time charge is “invariably linked” to the current difficulty in booking rides.

“Loss of driver income, plus a severe lack in supply affects the public service being rendered by our driver-partners. Many people are getting stranded on the road because they can’t book a ride,” it added.

On July 9, the LTFRB slapped a P10-million fine on the company for allegedly overcharging its passengers and ordered it to reimburse the P2 per minute waiting time charge it implemented from June 5, 2017 to April 19. It insisted the P2 per minute component is invalid and was rolled out without approval from the LTFRB Board.

Grab said the Office of the Chairman was informed of the fare structure. “We likewise received an e-mail response from the Office of the Chairman. No concerns were raised by the Board at that time,” it said.

But LTFRB Chairman Martin B. Delgra III told reporters on Thursday that an e-mail response from his office cannot be seen as approval of the fare structure.

“The board is going to decide as to whether we are going to grant a fare increase or not. It’s the Board who’s going to decide, and that’s basically what happened to the taxi fare, to the PUJ,” he said.

Grab has 15 days to file a motion for reconsideration on the LTFRB order for the date it was issued. If denied, it may then forward its appeal to the Department of Transportation. — Denise A. Valdez